Cocteau, Jean

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1889-07-05
Death 1963-10-11
French
English, German, French

Biographical notes:

French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, boxing manager, playwright and filmmaker. Antonin Artaud -- French poet, essayist, actor and director -- was the leading playwright of the 'Theatre of Cruelty.'

From the description of Le moine de M.G. Lewis raconté par Antonin Artaud [manuscript], ca. 1931 / Jean Cocteau. (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 318989605

French poet, novelist, playwright, and artist.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : St-Jean Cap Ferrat, France, to Marcel Duchamp, "1960-1961". (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 781310601

From the description of Autograph manuscript signed, dated : [n.p., Paris?], 25 January 1954 [or 1959?], 1954 Jan. 25 [or 1959?]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270564543

From the description of Autograph letter signed : St-Jean Cap Ferrat, France, to Marcel Duchamp, 1961 July 15. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 781306721

From the description of Autograph letter signed with initials, dated : [n.p., Paris?, n.d], to an unidentified recipient, [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270873246

From the description of Autograph letters signed (3) : St-Jean Cap Ferrat and Milly la-Forêt, France, to Marcel Duchamp, 1960 Oct. 30, 1961 July 15, and "1960-1961." (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270870552

Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) was a French poet, novelist, playwright, artist and filmmaker.

From the guide to the Jean Cocteau Letters, 1912-1958, 1912-1925, (Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida)

French poet, novelist, artist, playwright, and filmmaker.

From the description of Jean Cocteau Papers, 1905-1959 (bulk 1910-1928). (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 85242136

Jean Cocteau, poet, playwright, and film director, born in Maisons-Lafitte, France. He had early success with his poems, which he fully exploited, and figured as the sponsor of Picasso, Stravinsky, Giorgio de Chirico, and the musical group known as Les Six. He was an actor, director, scenario writer, novelist, critic, and artist, all of his work being marked by vivacity and a pyrotechnic brilliance. His best-known works include his novel Les Enfants terribles (1929, Children of the Game), his play Orphée (1926, Orpheus), and his films Le Sang du poète (1932, The Blood of the Poet) and La Belle et la bête (1945, Beauty and the Beast).

From the description of Jean Cocteau collection. [1943]. (University of Victoria Libraries). WorldCat record id: 660202747

French author.

From the description of "Halte Champêtre" autograph manuscript : St. Jean Cap-Ferrat, [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270899906

From the description of Jean Cocteau autograph letter to Jay S. Harrison, undated. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 502292466

From the description of Autograph letters signed (6) : various places, to William Fifield, 1962 Jan. 28-Dec. 19. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270899905

From the description of "Salut aux jeunes poètes" autograph manuscript signed : [n.p.], [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270899909

From the description of "Monologue" autograph manuscript : [n.p.], [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270899908

Cocteau was a French visual artist, writer, and film maker; his film Blood of a Poet (Le sang d'un poète) had its premiere in Paris in 1932.

From the description of Jean Cocteau papers concerning Blood of a poet, 1930. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 612764028

Jean Cocteau, one of the most versatile creative artists of the twentieth century, achieved celebrity as poet, playwright, journalist, novelist, artist, and filmmaker. At the time of his death he was perhaps the best-known French literary figure outside of France.

Born Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau on July 5, 1889, he was a child of affluence, particularly through the Lecomtes on the maternal side of his family. He began writing poetry as a boy and gained entrance into the literary world through his mother's social contacts. At age eighteen his work was the subject of a public reading that brought him his first notoriety, leading to the publication of his first book of poems, La lampe d'Aladin (1909).

In the next few years he met and was influenced by members of the avant-garde, resulting in less traditional works such as the ballet Parade (1917) in collaboration with Erik Satie, Léonide Massine, Sergei Diaghilev, and Pablo Picasso, Le Potomak (1919), a collection of drawings, poetry, and prose, and the poems of Le Cap de Bonne-Espérance (1919).

Cocteau's art received further stimulation from his intense love for the gifted young poet Raymond Radiguet. Their affair ended with Radiguet's death from typhoid at age twenty, but not before the younger poet had guided Cocteau away from modernism and toward a more classical formality.

In the years between the two world wars, Cocteau wrote his first novel ( Le grand écart, 1923), his first nonmusical play ( Antigone, 1922), and his first film ( Le sang d'un poète, 1932). For the rest of his life, in spite of his struggles with opium addiction, he continued to produce an enormous quantity of work and maintained his public prominence.

In 1949 Cocteau was made Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur. In 1955 he was elected to the Académie Royale de Langue et de Littérature Françaises of Belgium and also to the Académie Française.

He died October 11, 1963, and is buried in the chapel of Saint-Blaise-des-Simples in Milly-la-Forêt, France.

From the guide to the Jean Cocteau Papers TXRC06-A11., 1905-1959, (bulk 1910-1928), (The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center)

Jean Cocteau met Kurt Weill in Paris in 1930, and the two were in touch again when Weill moved to Paris in 1933.

They collaborated in the production of two songs for Marlene Dietrich ("Der Lügner" and "Es regnet," of which only the second was finished by Weill) and began to work together on a version of Faust which was abandoned due, apparently, to nothing more than inopportune circumstances. Cocteau, in inscribing his "Poèmes écrits en allemand" to the composer, wrote that "leur seule excuse, c'est de vous avoir plu."

From the description of Papers relating to Kurt Weill, 1933. (Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison). WorldCat record id: 122460314

Jean Cocteau, the French poet, playwright and film director, was born in Maisons-Lafitte, near Paris, in 1889. Success came early to Cocteau with La Lampe d'Aladin (1909, Aladdin's Lamp ), and he exploited it. He ran the gamut of experience, first enjoying a spectacular conversion to Roman Catholicism through Jacques Maritain. This was followed by a scornful repudiation of his mentor, the use of opium and a search for salvation through solitude. Nevertheless he had astonishing success with whatever he touched, and figured as sponsor of Picasso, Stravinsky, Giorgio de Chirico and the group of young French composers known as Les Six. As an actor, director, scenario writer, novelist, critic and artist, his work was marked by vivacity and a pyrotechnic brilliance. He was elected to the Academie Francaise in 1955.

Significant works are his novels: Le Grand ecart (1923, Eng trans The Grand Escort, 1925), Thomas l'imposteur (1923, Eng trans Thomas the Imposter, 1925), Les Enfants terribles (1929, Eng trans Children of the Game, 1929); and plays: Les Maries de la Tour Eiffel (1921, Eng trans The Eiffel Tower Wedding Party, 1963), Orphee (1926, Eng trans Orpheus, 1933) and L'Aigle a deux tetes (1946, Eng trans The Eagle has Two Heads, 1948). His films include Le Sang d'un po'ete (1930, The Blood of a Poet ), La Belle et la bete (1945, Beauty and the Beast ), Orphee (adapted from his play, 1949) and Le Testament d'Orphee (1960). [From Chambers Biographical Dictionary (1997)]

From the guide to the Jean Cocteau Collection, circa 1910-1963., (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

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Subjects:

  • Painting, French--19th century
  • Translation and interpretation--Manuscripts
  • Literature--French
  • Motion picture plays, French
  • Novelists, French
  • Prompt-book
  • Motion picture music--20th century
  • Motion pictures--20th century
  • Radicalism
  • Motion picture producers and directors--Correspondence
  • Art--French (?)--Reproductions
  • Dramatists, France
  • Perfumes
  • French literature--20th century
  • Poets, French
  • Authors, French
  • Arts, French
  • Art--Illustrators
  • Motion pictures--Aesthetics
  • Radio, television, film
  • Mothers and sons--Drama
  • Art, French--20th century
  • Manuscripts, German--Facsimiles
  • Screenwriters--France
  • Families--Drama
  • Artists--Correspondence
  • Incest--Drama
  • Literature 19th century
  • Authors, French--20th century--Correspondence

Occupations:

  • Narrators
  • Dramatists
  • Motion picture producers and directors
  • Poets
  • Artists
  • Screenwriters

Places:

  • France (as recorded)
  • France (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)
  • France (as recorded)